Federal Employees Hastily Close Up Shop Due To Shutdown
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The partial federal government shutdown had a ripple effect across South Florida on Tuesday.
Employees at some federal services spent the morning closing up shop and hastily recording messages on answering systems that their offices were not open due to the shutdown.
At NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center on Key Biscayne, employees were given just four hours to tidy up, grab what they needed and change the messages on their voice mails because the facility would be closing at noon.
“People are just kind of evacuating their offices but they don’t have a space to work now, so they’re holed up in wherever they can find a place in the university (Univ. of Miami’s Experimental Hatchery facilities) because all their offices are shutdown,” said student Jay Fish.
On the fisheries website, it explains the situation in bold red letters on the home page. According to NOAA, a majority of their 12,000 employees will be furloughed. However, employees who are considered “essential” to protecting lives, such as forecasters at the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center, will remain on the job. Administrators and most office staff were sent home.
A call to the NHC got this response on a recorded message from the center’s spokesman Dennis Feltgen.
“I am currently out of the office on furlough due to the shutdown of the U.S. government operations. I am unable to respond to phone calls and even emails until something has been appropriated and the shutdown ends,” said Feltgen.
Another site closed is the Everglades National Park.
The Everglades National Park and Dry Tortugas Park in the Keys are just a two of Florida’s 11 national sites closed due to the shutdown. Nearly 250 employees at the two parks will be affected.
“There’s concern about paying mortgage, taking care of your family like anybody else would,” Linda Friar, the spokesperson for Everglades National Park, said Monday before the park closed.
James Sutton with the Florida National Parks Association said, “Tough, it’s tough. Our employees live paycheck to paycheck and any lost income is going to be totally devastating to them.”
Not all federal services are impacted by the shutdown.
Critical personnel like law enforcement and rescue personnel will still have to report to work.
U.S. Post Office is exempt from furloughs so the mail will continue.
A lot of people who receive government assistance like social security and unemployment also don’t have to worry.
Click Here for a listing of what will be affected by the shutdown.